Getting Started with Organics Part 2

There is of course the odd monkey wrench that gets thrown into the organic rotation plans. This year for instance was horribly dry. It was one of the worst droughts on record for our area. The ground was so dry in the spring that we were seeding into dust. We seeded anyways with the thought that this drought couldn’t last and that everything would work out. Well it didn’t.

With the dry conditions the only plants that managed to get a foothold were the weed seeds that were already in the ground in the spring. The melting snow provided these weeds with just enough moisture to get going. The seeded crops struggled mightily to keep up and we managed to harvest at least some grain.

The problem we face for next year is the weed loads in our various fields. We cannot simply follow along with our planned rotations. It is very problematic, but we have some tools to work with. A late planted buckwheat crop…summerfallow or green manure plow down followed by Fall Rye…spring seeded oats cut in the summer for hay or silage. All of these tools will be implemented to try to get our fields back in clean, weed-free shape for 2011.

The video above is a good example of what I am talking about. Red Fife is a longer maturing crop and needed to be seeded early. The field was pretty clean, but the pigweed got established and was quite a problem in the 1/2 acre that I seeded to Red Fife (seed multiplication plot). The rest of the field was summerfallowed and then seeded into wheat in July so that the cows could graze in late fall after the Red Fife was harvested...that portion of the field is very clean now. The video below gives a good indication of the value of buckwheat as a tool to remove weeds.

Gold Forest Grains3 Comments